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Saving Enough CO2 to Fill 82,000 Olympic Swimming Pools

Post Time:Dec 23,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:386

If all the recycled container glass collected and processed was used to make new bottles and jars, the UK could save over 380,000 tonnes of CO2 every year – and that equates to enough CO2 to fill 93,000 hot air balloons or over 82,000 Olympic swimming pools (in terms of size). Is the UK missing an opportunity just to meet current EU targets?

Unfortunately, the reality is very different with only 50% of the glass collected coming back to glass containers - yet glass packaging is 100% recyclable and it can be endlessly recycled (closed-loop recycling), without any loss of quality or purity, making it a true cradle-to-cradle material.

“And further to the savings in CO2, if just over two thirds of the 8 billion bottles and jars produced yearly in the UK were recycled and returned to the container manufacturers, it would save over 1.8 million tonnes of raw materials and approximately 500,000 Mega Watt Hours of energy, “explained Rebecca Cocking, Recycling Manager of British Glass. “This means the energy saved could power over 18,000 two-person households for a year!”

The UK glass industry has the ability to use over 1.55 million tonnes of recycled glass a year. This means that the UK glass container industry could meet over 90% of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive target of 60% of the waste stream for glass by 30th December 2008.

“However,” continued Rebecca, “despite this the industry continues to lose recycled glass (cullet) to other end-use applications; more often than not in the form of an aggregate substitute which, unlike closed-loop container glass recycling, has no CO2 benefit. This practice is ‘downcycling’ and a waste of embedded carbon. It is telling that no EU countries other than UK and Ireland will allow glass into roadfill.

“Estimations for 2008 show that the amount of recycled glass being returned to closed loop container manufacture in the UK is to decline for the third year running despite the overall recycling rate for glass increasing. If action is not undertaken by parties within the supply chain the overall environmental benefits highlighted will be lost. Recycling glass and returning it to manufacturers for remelt has never been so important.”

Source: British GlassAuthor: shangyi

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